Fall 2012 Haute Couture: Atelier Versace's Sexy Fluidity


Having returned to Paris Couture Week in January with a modest presentation of just 15 looks, Atelier Versace consolidated its couture credentials this season with a full runway presentation on the covered swimming pool of the Ritz Hotel. It was an emotional presentation for Donatella Versace as it was at the hotel that she last saw her brother Gianni alive when he had presented his couture show there just two days before he was murdered in 1997.


Though not as flamboyant as her brother’s collections, this new collection of intricately-made gowns was still pure Versace with uber-sexy glittering dresses. Her 26 looks included corset-style bodices with ultra-long flowing techno chiffon skirts that look like liquid silk and cascaded in layers, tight mini-dresses made of narrow horizontal strips of patent leather and embroidered A-line trench coats. Special attention was given to shoulders and backs with scooping Vs or shoulder straps meeting in the centre of backs.

Inspired by the imagery and decoration of tarot cards, the collection was built upon the idea of deconstruction and reconstruction. Versace abstracted tarot card elements, like the sun, moon and world and reproduced them on lightweight fabrics or thin strips of double silk layered with transparent plastic to create a corset effect. She added little rose gold buckles on the thin strips, a motif found also on her gladiator-style high heel shoes.

The Stars, the Lovers and Good Fortune appeared as three-dimensional embroideries on belts with metal studs. Roman numerals which give meaning to tarot cards pointed towards positivity as well as strength in the collection.

While her previous collection had included laser-cut leather, this time the designer opted for hand-cut leather in small hexagonal patterns. But the wizardry of the expert sewing can only fully be appreciated close at hand. In some dresses the designer mixed different types of Swarovski Crystals and used lace made from silk chiffon to patch fabrics together, in others, patches of embroidery was held together with strings of crystals creating a delicate shredded appearance. One can expect to see many of these dresses on the red carpet in coming months.

As written for Couture by Designaré – Vol 3 (September 2012)